Before we begin talking about the weakness of the hind legs...I would like to say that this section is very important for our old friends...the senior dog. It is such a troubling time to watch our furry family members decline and it seems that as they age, this natural process presents as weakness of the hind legs and weakening of their joints and lower back.
In most cases of hind leg weakness, it's a disease of deficiency and thus herbals are extremely helpful when you find yourself in this situation. Chinese herbs are wonderful when there is this condition of weaknesses since they offer us powerful palliative care for our canines (as well as people) . Once canine's have reached this weakened condition, herbal formulas really can actually help our older dogs feel better as well as help them rest more comfortably while improving their quality of life.
According to Chinese medicine the root cause to this type decline stems from the following etiologies; The natural aging process, life long dietary taxation, external invasion of evils (germs) or constitutional deficiencies.
Our clinical experience is such that in many instances these herbs may be able to help to get the dog up and walking again, then in some other instance the Chinese herbs may help to slow down the progression of the wasting, and finally in the most dire instances there is just no stopping or slowing down the process no matter what we do. What ever the situation may be, it's certainly worth providing our dogs with chronic care relief, something that western medicine does not do that well for either dogs or people.
It's most likely you have already been to the veterinarian because your dog is losing the use of the hind legs due to some idiopathic weakness. You've come to the conclusion that there's really not any modern medicine approach for this type of a chronic condition so now your looking for an alternative solution, or that you have been using medicines and now there is a blow back from side effects.
Although modern medicine typically doesn't really have a name for this type of weakness, Traditional Chinese medicines calls this condition "Wilting" (wei syndrome) Here's the official definition:
"Weakness and limpness of the sinews that in severe cases prevents the lifting of the legs" (Practical Dictionary of CHINESE MEDICINE; Weiseman & Feng)
So your saying... let's fix it now that we have a name for it....Not so fast! There are several patterns of TCM disharmonies that may be the root cause to Wei Syndrome (loss of hind leg strength) and they are as follows:
- Soddening by Damp Heat:This hind leg weakness is caused mostly by long term dietary taxation. Because of a lifetime of poor quality food or a canine who has consumed a diet high in grains, the end result is a damaged spleen that engenders the accumulation of systemic dampness and transformed into Damp Heat. This pattern of disharmoney presents by your dog seemingly to run hot most of the time, wanting to seek out cool places, perhaps noticeable bad breath, very yellow urine, stools may be constipated or they may be loose and smelly. Your dog may have experienced life long ear problems with discharge, or eye discharges, maybe a greasy coat or chronic skin problems such as hot spots.
- Spleen-Stomach vacuity: Hind leg weakness that has been gradually worsening and along with this weakness and there has been profound fatigue, stools may be loose, and your pet may just seem to not be "with it", there may be a diminishing appetite and you might also notice that there is abdominal distension. The hallmark feature of low energy is the symptom of this pattern. We say that the function of the spleen has weakened and has lost the capacity to transform and transport grains and water. As a result of the impaired digestive process, the body has become weakened and deficient because nutrition has not been spread to the extremities.
- Liver-Kidney Yin depletion: Along with hind leg weakness, there may also be problems with pain of the lower back, loss of hearing , loss of eyesight or dry eyes, or incontinence. This pattern seems to present with mostly older dogs. We also see this particular pattern associated with long term steroid use (cortisone). Additionally this pattern associated with joint pain, which Traditional Chinese Medicine calls Bi Syndrome (a.k.a. arthritis)
- Dual Qi and Kidney Yin Vacuity: By far this is the most common pattern that we have observed. The dog will present with profound fatigue, lack of strength, lack of appetite or scanty eating, possible abdominal distension, loose stools, hearing loss or blindness, low back pain, muscle wasting of the hind quarters and night time panting, dry fur, dry skin or nails.
How long does it take to get better your wondering? Just like in people, once this type of wasting starts occurring, we really don't know, some respond right away, some very slowly, and some not at all. The idea here is to try and regain balance with the hopes of improvement as well as the idea that we can slow down the progression of weakness.
But you can do something that we consider pivotal, you must get your dog on a grain free food of high quality. Secondly, we believe in the Law of Secondary Doctrine which is an herbal philosophy which is that we eat what we need to heal.
In the case of canines we believe that they should be eating muscle meat along with organ meat and lots of bones. It is my opinion that because our pets don't receive nutrition that is even close to their evolutionary diet, they're now being struck down by chronic conditions that didn't exist even as of 10 years ago. To us....it's all about the canines food chain being contaminated with worthless fillers in order to decrease the cost of the food.
Remember that every formula is reviewed and herbs are selected based on the information you provide us...Every dog is unique so they deserve a remedy that is formulated just for their own special requirements.